posted by on Events in SG, Music, Ramblings

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Whoa, we’re already into the second half of 2014. How has the year been for you?

I’m not one for resolutions, the closest to a resolution that I’d penned for 2014 would probably be what I’d written for my album on FB to upload my random 2014 photos.

I’ve no idea what 2014 will bring for me, but whatever life throws me, I intend to intensify my personal quest to live and let live, to be kind(er), and to reduce my footprint on earth.

For this year, I hope to challenge new things, travel more, judge less and let the closet greenie in me come out and play a little more. Let’s see if a year on when I look back at this album, I’ll see a year filled with joy, laughter, kindness and love for this earth ^^

I really think a little more kindness in this world will make a helluva difference to everything. Sadly, there seems to be a lot of online noise and hatred these days. People get angry over the slightest things, and people lash out at people without remembering that people have feelings and people can get hurt. It’s also very frustrating to read the increasingly many and intensely intolerant xenophobic posts from some Singaporeans.

THE UGLY
Just today, I’d come across A FACEBOOK POST by a certain Singaporean woman (shan’t call her a lady since she didn’t behave like one today…) who pulled a ANTON CASEY, SINGAPORE STYLE.

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I had the ‘privilege’ of checking out the FB post at source and read the comments by her friends and her replies before she deleted it. Suffice to say she was ‘recalcitrant’ and insisted that the ‘mostly foreigners’ she saw were ugly, uncouth, lacking in manners and all the works. When advised by someone to remove her post, she had replied that there was no need to, since she was stating facts. (I think she got alarmed subsequently and deleted it when she realized someone’s screencapped her post and spreading it online.)

I ain’t no perfect 10 or supermodel, but you can take my word for it that she’s very very very far from it too. Within being (overly) rude, suffice to say if I look like that, I really wouldn’t be criticizing others by their outward appearance.

And SHE(!!) was talking about their behaviour and mannerism? She even had to cheek to reply someone’s comment and said 相由心生! I almost threw up. This Chinese phrase is basically saying how good or bad one looks really depends on how kind or nice one is inside. She must be speaking from experience, then…

I pray, for her sake, that she won’t be skinned too badly online.

And then there was this other post I saw a few days ago. Some of you might have seen it too, since it was making its rounds on FB. Quite a saddening one.

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Of course there’ll be rotten apples; there are bad guys and bullies amongst us Singaporeans too. But my own experience with the foreign workers or foreign talents hasn’t been that bad. In fact, in my own personal experience, I’d seen on quite many occasions that the foreign workers are often the ones to offer their seats to those who need them more. We Singaporeans? Most just sit there glued to our smartphones, oblivious to the needs of others.

Yea, shame on us.

Thankfully, not everyone’s so negative and angry. I can only hope those who are busy thrashing foreign workers on STOMP and those who are busy sliming the government on TRS are the minority. I sincerely hope that the silent majority are going about their lives happily and kindly.

THE HAPPY
Here’s an example of HAPPY. Heard of the MP3 EXPERIMENT? The Singapore leg 2014 happened this weekend at Gardens by the Bay, and it was a mighty success!

Looks like fun, huh? Go like THE HIDDEN GOOD FB PAGE, so that you don’t miss out on next year’s MP3 Experiment. They release fab videos that are entertaining and yet at the same time, make you wanna dig inside yourself and reflect on your own actions. Like THE SINGAPORE XENOPHOBIC CAFE.

AND, THE KIND
LORRAINE TAN is a singer-songwriter; in fact, her day job’s a wedding singer!

imagelorrainetan.com
What’s interesting about her job is that she ain’t just your typical wedding singer. Since she’s a songwriter too, she can actually customize a couple’s wedding song based on the couple’s own special love story! How cool is that?! Your very own one-of-a-kind wedding song that’s actually your love story! Cool, ya?

So where’s the ‘KIND‘, you’re asking?

For four years running now, Lorraine has been composing and producing a song for Singapore’s birthday! It all started in 2011 when Lorraine decided to start the My Singapore Project, in her effort to inspire and bring people together to contribute to the less fortunate through music and arts.

You know what they say about music being a universal language and how it pulls everyone together? Yup, that’s the idea. So every year, Lorraine will pen an original theme song for National Day and a music video will also be produced too!

It started as a small, personal project, but had gained much attention and traction over the past few years. So it grew organically and last year, Lorraine and her friends’ My Singapore Project blossomed into a full charity cum celebration project!

Last year, Lorraine and her friends didn’t stop at a song and an MV. They went on to present a concert and the official beneficiary of My Singapore 2013 was the PRESIDENT’S CHALLENGE. Needless to say, it was a big, fat success!

For My Singapore 2014, the theme song is Moments of Love, and the MV’s just out! (And yes, that’s DR JIAJIA in the MV, hee!)

Once again, the official beneficiary of the My Singapore project is President’s Challenge, which supports 63 different beneficiaries. President Tony Tan Keng Yam will be the Guest Of Honor for the concert.

Yup, there will be a concert on 12 Aug 2014 (Tue) at The Star Theatre, woohoo!

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What’s the Program at the Concert?
Lorraine Tan will lead the concert line up and she will deliver a varied repertoire consisting of popular tunes, jazz numbers, community songs, all time favourite national day songs, as well as some of Lorraine’s own compositions.

Who Will be Performing at the Concert?
The concert will also feature guest artistes that include Dr. Jia Jia (Singapore’s YouTube sensation), renowned Xinyao artiste 潘盈 (Pan Ying), UFM 100.3 DJ Kenn, local artistes Nathan Hartono and Eric Du Xin.

Special performances from CapitaKids and dance items by Bellydance Extraordinaire and Crestar School Of Dance will also add a unique flavor to the evening.

Goh Kheng Long, Singapore and Asia’s top music director/arranger/pianist who has worked with Mega stars like A-Mei, JJ Lin, David Tao and Wang Lee Hom, will also make a special guest appearance. .

imageMy Singapore 2014, by Patrick Sng

Do support the kind peeps so that they can carry on to be kind! Just click to buy the tickets and go enjoy the concert! Proceeds will go towards the President’s Challenge 2014 with over 60 beneficiaries! Alternatively, you can also sponsor a kid to go watch the concert at just $38 each. Click HERE to get your tickets today!

Do like MY SINGAPORE FB PAGE for more updates!

Just a short mention of the presenter and peeps supporting the My Singapore Project. The concert is proudly brought to you by Presenting Charity Sponsor CAPITALAND HOPE FOUNDATION, Co-Presenters FEM SURGERY and SHUN ZHOU GROUP and Organised by ATLAS MEDICAL LASER & AESTHETICS CLINIC, Produced by Pink Piano Productions & WEDDING HARMONY.

RECOMMENDED READS
FIVE STARS AND A MOON | 20 MINS WITH LORRAINE TAN
OURBABYOFLOVE | CHARITY CONCERT FOR PRESIDENT’S CHALLENGE

Manbok, Everyone!

Jul
2014
20

posted by on Food, Personal, Work in SG

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It’s already Sunday evening, so fasssssst! Where did all the time go? Hehe, whenever I run into someone on a Monday and if he or she asks me how my weekend is, I always feel like saying, ‘Weekend? It’s always too short!”

Anyway, hope that yours has been a good one. I’ve had a nice, quiet one; lots of reading, surfing and catching up on my fave korean variety shows. Lotsa me-time, me likes! Makes me feel very rested and ready for the new work week.

But… I’ve been too distracted to blog! I really wanna get back into the momentum of blogging, yea, I used to blog practically everyday and sometimes, more than once a day! I don’t get it. Where on earth did I find so many things to blog about back then? Why did I have so much to say?

Been wanting to share my Manbok photos! Hehe, they’re like a week late, mianeyo!

When it comes to Korean food in Singapore, I’m quite the creature of habit. I seem to always return to RED PIG AT AMOY STREET, or KKOKKONARA AT TRAS STREET. Those are like good old trusted places where you know you won’t be surprised with something not so nice. Even ASPIRANTSG and LADYIRONCHEF included these two restaurants into their best of best lists.

But oh, I must say I quite enjoyed my dinner at DAL IN AT BOON TAT STREET though. Been there only once, but been wanting to go back and try it again. A little place that’s ‘stamped and chopped’ by quite some Koreans to be amongst the better and more authentic Korean restaurants in Singapore.

Back to Manbok! Since Kkokkonara’s full and couldn’t take in our reservation, we decided to check out Manbok, having read how LOCAL LIFESTYLE BLOGGER RACHEL WONG RAVED ABOUT IT.

So cute leh… in her most recent post on Manbok, she even included a bit of info on the PROGRESSIVE WAGE MODEL (PWM)!

I know a lot of peeps don’t care much for it, and don’t think it concerns them, but please, we don’t live in a vacuum or our own island. Even if it doesn’t concern you directly now, it does affect many other people in our workforce. Even if your own life is going swimmingly well now, have heart and see what has been done for the people who need help. If done right, the PWM can help the low wage workers. If done right, the PWM can also help ensure companies do more for workers in terms of training and career advancement. You can read more about PWM HERE.

Or hey, please gorgeous please watch this video to see what PWM is all about.

The first industry to adopt the PWM is the cleaning industry, and it will come into full effect from 1st Sep 2014. Come 1st Sep 2014, cleaners will receive a minimum of $1,000 to $1,200 depending on the type of cleaning work they do. And with the PWM, they get a chance to be train, upgrade to a higher-grade job and receive higher pay.

Me thinks it’s fab that local online influencers are taking to their blogs to help spread the word about PWM and create more awareness about it. In this increasingly wired world and age where the younger people tend not to read mainstream media for news, the online influencers can do a lot in helping to disseminate accurate info and positive messages.

Oopsies! How did I end up talking about PWM and cleaners when all I wanted was to share my Manbok photos?! Haha, those of you who used to read my blog would know that I’m the Queen of Digression! I don’t really plan or outline what I wanna blog; I usually just sit myself down and start letting my fingers do the talking. I find it immensely therapeutic to see my fingers fly all over the keyboard and blog my heart out!

Manbok is romanized Korean for 萬福, which translates literally to tens of thousands of good fortune. So Manbok actually means lots of good fortune.

Manbok is located along the stretch of shophouses on Neil Road. It’s a longish shoplot, and both sides of are lined with tables.

This is one of those places where they will grill the meat for you. Good! Coz I really can’t grill or barbecue to save my life! (Hehe, going by the Korean way, the younger ones have to do the grilling and flipping anyway, so I’m usually spared the agony since I’m the oldest!)

Although Manbok has a la carte items on the menu, the sets are popular. I believe they’re good for their beef and also pork; heard that their spicy beancurd stew (soondubu chigae, yay!) is also good.

Since there’re four of us, we went for Set D and also ordered soondubu chigae (my fave!) and steamed egg. Prices? Well, Korean food’s never cheap in Singapore anyway, so I’ll say prices at Manbok’s comparable to most other Korean barbecued restaurants. If you’re looking for value, then you’re better off going to one of those Korean buffet, me thinks.

Hee, one important thing to check when visiting a new Korean restaurant is how much they charge for their soju. It’s at a relatively affordable $15. Yea, can’t compare with prices in Korea obviously, but it’s never cheap to get drunk in Singapore anyway.

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

About the food… The set D that we’d ordered included beef, pork (samgyeopsal), octopus and eel. The meat came first; they’d helped us grill.

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

Zzang…! Meat’s ready! Quite succulent!

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

In case you’re expecting a review, stop now! It ain’t gonna happen, coz I don’t do reviews, hee! This is a personal blog, not a food blog, so am just sharing snippets of my life with friends.

At Red Pig, I like their signature red pig, which is a spicy marinate. And oh, I also like their soy chicken. Not so big a fan of their beef and samgyeopsal though. But here at Manbok, the beef’s really not bad! So go go go, if you like beef and samgyeopsal!

The eel and nakji were nothing much to write home about. I’ll probably stick to all meat and no seafood the next time I go there. But if you like variety, you can still try ordering it. It ain’t bad or anything, just nothing spectacular.

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

We also ordered the spicy beancurd stew and the steamed egg. I ain’t much of a photographer, plus I was using my phone and taking pics in a hurry since we were so hungry. So please, pardon me the quality and lack of aesthetics, ya?

The beancurd stew was not bad! I personally dislike those water-down version with no spicy kick, and I also like it when the chef adds enough clams for me to taste the fresh sweetness. This one did it, woohoo!!

The egg was a bit of a disappointment though. Too dry, too dense and hard. I prefer my egg more moist, softer and fluffier. Could be just a matter of personal preference *shrugs*

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

All in, I’d say it costs $30-45 per head at Manbok. Of course, it also depends on whether you order alcoholic drinks or not lah, keke!

BFF and I have been toying with the idea of doing a mother-daughter trip together… And looks like it’s gonna happen! We’re hoping to do a short BKK trip together soon, and a few of the dongsaengs are gonna join us! The last time we gals went on a trip together was OUR BKK TRIP LAST OCT. That’s some nine months ago!

Anyway, we spent a bit of time discussing where to go and what to do during this coming BKK trip. There’re likely to be eight of us, and some of us are traveling together for the first time. Hehe, hope this ‘family and friends’ trip will turn out more than fab! Can’t wait!

Here’s to friendship, and to more girlfriends’ trips! Manbok, everyone!

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

Manbok
Tel: +65 6536 3424
116 Neil Road, Singapore 088853

posted by on Korea, Travel

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Guess what? Am gonna be sharing yet another text convo with a friend!

C: Met A that day. She said she asked you to help buy umbrella.

Me: Ya! Am supposed to pass to you to help bring to her in KL.

C: She so funny… Said only Korea has automated umbrella.

Me: Really…!!! Only Korea has umbrellas that satisfy all her requirements!!
- Short
- Auto
- UV Protection
- Cannot be too ugly

C: The way you’re describing it, it’s like criteria for a man!! Talking about protection and length!!

Me: Oopsies!! And better yet if it’s lightweight and windproof!

C: High standards… just for an umbrella!!

brolly girlwallwides.com
In case you didn’t know, it’s true that such brollies only exist in Korea!

It ain’t easy to find short (i.e. retractable) umbrellas that are auto! By ‘auto’, I mean you can push a button to open and close the brolly.

You will appreciate this when it’s raining dinosaurs and hippos, and you’re trying to get in and out of a vehicle. It’s great too when your hands are full with shopping bags.

And… that’s not all! The Koreans have umbrellas that are not just retractable and auto, they also have them with UV protection and are windproof! Actually even in Korea, it’s also not easy to find umbrellas that are retractable, auto and with UV protection, usually only the bigger and more ‘high-end’ shops would have it. But they’re near impossible to find in Singapore!

So the next time you go to Korea, you know what to buy, ya? Hehe, get the lightweight, retractable and windproof auto umbrella that comes with UV protection!

Now let me share some photos that I’d taken during my umbrella-buying outing in Korea back in May!

One of the shops that we’d gone to in Nampo Underground Shopping in Busan.

brolly 1bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Nope, not all of those shown above are what we were looking for. In fact, in most of the shops that we’d checked out, most didn’t have what we’re after. And those that did have, it probably made up less than 10% of their entire merchandise.

Here are the photos of the ‘qualified’ brollies that I’d whatsapp’ed A to choose from.

brolly 2bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Hee, not so easy to pick something that meets all of A’s requirements… and yet is pretty looking enough, ya? She had even asked if there’re pink princessy types. Errrr… I didn’t have many to pick from leh.

But I thought these are not bad! My fave’s gotta be the light pink one with the girl on the swing on bottom left! Not sure if you can see, but the images change from one pane to the next, as though swinging in motion! Nice!

brolly 3bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Anyway, here’s what Emz and I ended up buying. Yup, yup, we bought seven between us!

brolly 4bb ♥ | happiebb.com

So now, remember these when you’re out shopping for a brolly the next time you’re in Korea!

brolly 0bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Incidentally, I love how in Korea, the shops (especially convenience stores) will push out their brollies for sale! Yup, that’s where you buy those long see-through brollies!

Love those! Coz you can still see through the your brolly as you walk. Fab for street window-shopping when overseas, hee!

brolly transbb ♥ | happiebb.com

posted by on Food, Personal

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I love food, and used to not bat an eyelid when paying for food I like, or food that’s good. I thought nothing of spending a hundred bucks or more even on a normal workday lunch.

I’ve since changed. While I’d bet my last dollar that my love for food is eternal, I’ve made a personal commitment to live more simply, and to do my bit in not contributing to over-consumerism. Small can be beautiful, simplicity can be liberating, and moments of joy need not be expensive.

These days, I’d actually feel guilty if I go OTT on my purchases and if i waste things, especially food. I really really wanna reduce my footprint on earth.

Haven’t had an omakase experience in a long time coz these tend to be fairly pricey. Omakase actually means ‘I’ll leave it to you’ in Japanese, and it’s a term used in Japanese restaurants when you let the chefs decide what you’ll have for your meal. I remember having omakase meals at Tatsuya helmed by rather overwhelming Chef Ronnie Chia and also at the now-defunct Kuriya Penthouse.

An omakase opportunity presented itself just a few days ago! A very dear and old friend of mine will be celebrating his birthday soon, so we decided to eat at TAMASHII ROBATAYA.

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Tamashii means ‘soul’. But what is Robataya?

The word Robataya translates literally into ‘fireside cooking’. In Japanese cuisine, robataya, often shortened to robata, refers to a method of cooking that originated from the fishermen in Hokkaido, in which food items are slow-grilled over hot charcoal.

The restaurant’s decor is not distracting, I like! There’re tables too, but I’d recommend sitting at the counter since that’s the whole point of going to a robataya, right?

Wasn’t planning to blog, so I didn’t take any pics of the place at all. Lifted a pic of the counter from IS.

imageis.asia-city.com/

There are four chefs at the counter, and I’ve read that there’re two more inside the kitchen. I should mention that none of them are Japanese, but hey, that doesn’t mean they ain’t any good, k? In fact, one of the owners Patrick Tan has chalked up over a decade of experience at places like Tatsuya and M Hotel. Click HERE to read more about the origin and concept.

And in case it’s your first time sitting at a counter or if it’s your first time having omakase, and you’re worried about the place being intimidating, don’t. It ain’t. In fact, I actually think it helps that they’re locals, hee!

First things first… it’s Friday night, who doesn’t need a drink? The waitress said this was the best beer in the menu wor.

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

Now, the food. When the chef asked if we wanted salad, P said ‘yes’ before I could stop him. Well, suffice to say there ain’t many types of greens that I like…

But the moment I took my first bite of the salad, I was soooooo glad P had OK’ed the salad! Hand to heart, that’s the most yummylicious salad I’d ever eaten (but hor, I never really ate a lot of salads lah!) The ingredients so fresh and the dressing was sooooo incredible!

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

Next up… my all-time fave, sashimi..!!

Can’t name a fave, everything was beyond fabulous! And that single bite-sized abalone’s by far the tastiest I’d ever tasted!

If like me, you ain’t sure about where to begin when faced with a serving of sashimi, just remember to always try to start with the one with the lightest or most declicately-flavoured ones, and move on to the ones with stronger taste. If all else fails, just start with the lightest coloured one and work your way to the fattier and darkest coloured ones.

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

Did you notice the small serving of golden paste thingy served wtih the sashimi? That’s soy sauce in foam form!! *screams in amazement*

And did you know many of us Sinagporeans are doing it wrong when we eat sashimi and sushi? Many have the tendency to mix wasabi and soya sauce into a gooey mixture and then dip.

Wrong wor… You’re supposed to add wasabi on the fish and dip the fish into the sauce, and not the rice part. You can also just add wasabi and no sauce. Or, you can just eat it without adding anything.

The more expensive your sashimi or sushi is, the more you wanna follow these rules. Coz if it’s expensive, it probably means it’s super fresh and are the best parts of the fish, so we shouldn’t and needn’t be overpowering the sweet freshness with sauce and all.

Imagine if you’re the chef and you’ve woken up in the most ungodly hours for the fish, and painstakingly prepare it for the guest… only to have the guest smear and dip in soya sauce. So wrong, ya? You can read more HERE.

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

And here comes the highlight of eating at a robataya… ZZANG… Grilled sea perch!

Of course, this is not done yet lah!

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

The fun part is when the chef ‘sends’ you the perfectly grilled dish with a long wooden paddle!

Actually I’d been craving for grilled fish for a couple of weeks already, but hadn’t had a chance to satisfy that craving. So the sea perch came at a wonderful timing!

The fish’s fabulously salted and yummyliciously grilled. It was so good I actually had to hold myself back from digging for scraps when almost all’s gone!

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

I was surprised that I was starting to feel quite full by then. And know what? I already had the fantabulous salad, the super-fine sashimi and the oh-so-tasty grilled fish, and didn’t imagine what else could top it all off.

Ahhhh… I didn’t do my research! One of the signature dishes at Tamashii Robataya is the Saga Gyu Donburi!

It’s top-grade Saga beef grilled to perfection, with luxurious black summer truffle shavings and runny onsen egg atop fluffy japanese rice. At $45 a pop, it’s not cheap, but so so so worth it!

And oh, if you don’t take beef, they actually have a pork cheek version (cheaper than quite a bit too!)

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

If you’re wondering about prices, there are actually omakase sets at different price points. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay $120-250 per head. But but but… I heard the set lunches here at great value for money, going for under $30. (Me gonna go back and try it one day soooooon!)

It was a wonderful meal and we managed to catch up on each other’s lives too. Too full for dessert, we decided to just a coffee before we went somewhere else for a drink.

imagebb ♥ | happiebb.com

I’m quite the terrible friend. Hardly ever bother to initate contact or make effort to keep in touch. And being the painfully introverted and socially awkward person that I am, I don’t make friends very easily too. Anyway, I’m happy being on my own.

P is the complete opposite of what I’m like. To describe us as being on polar opposites of each other is an understatement! But for some reason, we get along. Maybe it’s also coz of how long we’ve known each other, and the stuff that we’d gone through together.

Anyway, am glad despite everything, we’re still in touch. And even if we haven’t met for sometime, it’s hardly ever awkward when we do try and catch up.

With his birthday coming up, I wanna wish that only good news, good people and good things go his way. Happy birthday, P!

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You can read more reviews and check photos of Tamashii Robataya (yea, I know, mine sucked…) from MISS TAMCHIAK’s BLOG, PISCINE AND RESTLESS, and also SG FOOD ON FOOT. And oh, don’t miss REVIEW BY GNINETHREE too, so humourously penned!

TAMASHII ROBATAYA
Hours: Lunch 12nn – 2:30pm Dinner 5:30pm – 10:30pm
(Closed on Sundays)
Tel: +65 6222 0316
12 North Canal Road, #02-01

posted by on My Worklife, Work in SG

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High chance you would have seen this Thai TVC that’s gone viral over the past few days. Just checked, and there’re over 7 million(!!) views of the originally uploaded video on Youtube already!


Yea, guess there’re just some things that technology cannot replace.

Like how we can’t email a handshake, can’t hug someone via whatsapp, can’t tickle through iMessage, can’t have coffee with a website, and can’t email a kiss….

And at the workplace, I’m glad that there’re bosses who get it, and understand that no matter how many HR personnel they hire, no matter how huge they claim they are on open communication… sometimes, nothing beats the personal touch.

Through the course of my work, I had the chance to visit the Charles & Keith Group’s HQ in Singapore recently. So hee, this is a random post where I ramble through how the Charles & Keith bosses still manage to keep it personal.

image 1bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Being one of the most established and successful retail chains in Singapore (in fact, the region… yay for home-grown brands!), they have in place their own training system.

And yes, during our conversation with them, it kept coming up that the group’s big on training and the message I got was that the group does not stinge on investing resources on training the staff. Other than the usual more structure classroom style of training, Charles & Keith also sends their trainers to the shopfloor to train the frontline staff. And they also fly the staff from the region to Singapore for training when the need arises.

But but but, many of you would probably go, “That’s expected of a retail chain of their scale.

True, that. But there’re other smaller, softer touches that caught my attention as I was touring the grounds of their corporate building.

Like how big and nice the staff canteen area is. Like how there’s a full kitchen. Like how there’s even a staff lounge for staff to chill. Like how there’s a small gym area. Like how there’re table tennis tables and these!

image 2bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Not bad, huh?

But what stands out even more was when the Charles & Keith rep shared how despite the group’s scale and size, the bosses still keep their feet on the ground and their hearts in their people.

She shared how the bosses remember the staff’s name, regardless of rank and grade. And she shared how the bosses spend time to tell their own stories to inspire everyone. And she shared how the bosses would reach out to staff who need help. And she also shared how the company believes in training and giving the staff a chance to progress and advance in their jobs, to become better workers.

Guess all of these help the Charles & Keith Group become a better employer.

Have you seen their corporate recruitment video? The stories of how some of their staff rose from the ranks are actually quite inspiring!


And so, there you go… another story of how Technology Cannot Replace Love.

posted by on Life in SG

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Heard of SINGAPOREAN OF THE DAY?

It’s a video project site that showcases Singaporeans, their lives, their passion and love, and yes, to show off to the whole wide world that there’s fire in our bellies!

singaporean-of-the-daysingaporeanoftheday.com

I lifted this from A SGVOLUNTEER INTERVIEW WITH THE FOUNDER OF THE SITE, JEFF CHEONG.

The Singaporean of the Day project was conceived out of Mr Cheong’s indignation with last November’s (2012) Gallup survey results, which declared Singaporeans to be the unhappiest and most emotionless people worldwide — beating out countries such as Iraq, Serbia and Nepal.

Perturbed, he looked closer at the survey and declared the questions and methodology “nonsensical”.

“Sample size of 1,000? That’s enough for you to say that (we) are emotionless? And questions like, ‘did you smile more than yesterday’ — I mean, how do you extrapolate that kind of thing? It could have been a bad day with a colleague or boss. It’s my current state of mind versus my entire month or year of thinking. I thought it was pretty unfair.”

He was incensed because, it was, as if “someone were to come to your house and say: ‘Hey your house is damn ugly’. It is almost like an invasion … I felt it even worse when the headlines (in the international media) were really sensationalised.”

Anyway, he was upset enough to do something about it. So what happened afterwards was the birth of Singaporean of the Day.

You can hear it straight from the horse’s mouth here. Quite interesting speech going on there, as Jeff spoke about our unique ability to swear fluently in four languages, and also how we Singaporeans would man up and defend our national dish, the Chilli Crab, keke!

Singaporean Of The Day: Jeff Cheong at TEDxSingapore

Do you think Singaporeans are really the least emotional ones around? That we don’t have passion? Do we really not feel much towards most things?

Maybe our problem is more of self-expression and outward expression. What do you think? I guess one other interesting question to ask is whether an obvious, outward expression of passion is the only expression of passion. Coz I honestly think that quite a number of us shy away from expressing ourselves and vocalizing our thoughts and views. But does that mean we don’t feel on the inside? *shrugs*

Anyway, that aside, I admire people like Jeff Cheong and his friends for doing what they do. It’s super nice to see some people being impassioned and motivated enough to actively do something about it. Too many of us just let things be after bitching and whining about stuff, and way too often too. Yea, me guilty too.

sgoftheday

Have you watched any of their videos? They’re actually quite nicely done, and are effective in bringing out the personality in front of the camera. If you prefer Youtube, you can also subscribe or check out their videos HERE.

If you’d watched Jeff Cheong’s TED speech above, you might be curious about the brave mother he was talking about.

Joanne Poon is the author of “Brave Maeve”, a storybook which she wrote for her young daughter when she was diagnosed with cancer. She hopes that this book, which has been distributed to 13 countries, can serve as a symbol of strength for all other children in times of sickness. This is Joanne Poon.


I’ll just share one more Singaporean of the Day video. This time, let’s focus on and pay tribute to our PIONEER GENERATION.

Lee Yoon Tong, 74 years old, is one of the six remaining street alley barbers left in Singapore. He has worked in the trade for over 50 years, and has many interesting stories to share. This is Lee Yoon Tong.


If you haven’t checked out SINGAPOREAN OF THE DAY, it’s about time! Mighty interesting to learn more about our fellow Singaporeans and what makes each one of us tick. You can also go like THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE.

Recommended Reads
LBB ON SINGAPOREAN OF THE DAY
ASIAONE ON SINGAPOREAN OF THE DAY
FIVE STARS AND A MOON | CHANGE OF MINDSET NEEDED FOR PIONEER GENERATION

World Cup Semis

Jul
2014
08

posted by on Funnies, Ramblings

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Sharing a kakaotalk convo I just had with a colleague.

He: Going zzz early; going be up at 4am.

Me: Match?

He: Yea. Semis tonight.

Me: Who against whom?

He: Bra playing with germs.

posted by on Drama

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Mondays are usually dreary… but hey, Mondays are gonna be so much better for now!

Coz of the new TVN drama, High School King of Savvy, woohoo!

savvy 0

Gotta confess that I ain’t a big fan of Seo In Guk. Nope, I didn’t watch Reply 1997. Not for lack of trying though. I heard and read so much about it that the rave reviews made me try to get into the drama. I just couldn’t make myself get past the first few episodes, so… hmmm…

But I did watch Master’s Sun where he played the cool guard, and he was also pretty good in the movie, No Breathing (the movie’s great fun to watch, so watch!) Anyway, back to High School King of Savvy. It’s gooooood!! At least so far so good for the six eps that I’ve watched.

You can read the drama recaps and comments on DRAMABEANS and DRUNKSONDRAMA.

Hee, no prizes for guessing WHOM I FIRST STARTED WATCHING THE DRAMA FOR!

savvy 2

But I do have a problem reconciling how romance can blossom between the male and female leads. The age gap doesn’t really bother me much, but it IS a problem when the guy’s only 18!! And… if only the female lead Lee Hana would be less OTT in her acting… But at least her acting’s not to the point of cringe-worthy *shrugs*

Watch it if you want something light-hearted. Pace’s good too. Ya, I approve ^^

Tablo… Epik High

Jun
2014
30

posted by on Music

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Some people are mistaken into thinking that I like Kpop and watch a lot of K-dramas. The truth is… I don’t.

I like Korean hiphop alot more than I do Kpop. In fact, I generally don’t fancy pop much. I’ve always leaned towards the softer rock and yes, hiphop. I like BigBang, Leessang and I adore Epik High, mainly coz of Tablo.

As for K-dramas, I actually enjoy Korean variety shows more, and I watch more variety shows than I do dramas.

Oh boy, talk about Superman Returns… Choo Sarang is just wayyyyyy cute!! And I adore Choo Papa! Shhhh… I actually think he’s kindda ugly-but-mighty-sexy!

choo sarang 2

Ahhhh, but that’s a story for another day. I wanna talk about Tablo today, he’s also one of the fathers on Superman Returns. So, when he’s not playing rapper of Epik High, he’s playing father to Haru and husband to Kang Hye Jung!

I love their love story, and love how YG was looking out for Tablo even before he joined them! Yea, Kang Hye Jung was under YG back then, and she was the one who made Epik High’s joining YG happen. You can check out the story on YGFAMILY ON STRONG HEART.

I’ve always been more of a textual than visual person, so I love love love words. In some ways, I even see some hiphop lyricists as modern day poets. That’s how I see Tablo and Gary to be honest.

And the best-est part about Tablo? His English is superb, so he actually has a few tracks that are in English! (He’s an English major from Stanford and completed his degree ahead of everyone else too!)

Have you watched his cover of TAEYANG’s EYES, NOSE, LIPS? To call it a cover is actually wrong, coz it really sounded like a totally new song. I actually see it as a sequel…!

It’s in English and yup, Tablo penned the lyrics!

TABLO X TAEYANG – 눈,코,입 (EYES, NOSE, LIPS)

I also like one of his older tracks, Dear TV

And this one’s pure gold! Being Alone (ft. Classiquai)!

Have you read about what happened to Tablo some years back? Truly sad story, almost unbelievable too. Am so glad all that is all behind him now, and Tablo and his family can get on with living their lives. Click HERE to read about what happened to him.

And he appeared on Healing Camp and shared a lot about what happened to him. His wife appeared too. Good one to watch, so don’t miss it!

TABLO ON HEALING CAMP, PART 1
TABLO ON HEALING CAMP, PART 2
TABLO ON HEALING CAMP, PART 3

posted by on Korea, Travel

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Some of you might know that I’d gone on MY 11th TRIP TO KOREA last month.

Yup, 11(!!) trip, hehe! When I first started going to Seoul, I had taken the usual route of staying in hotels. Then I discovered guesthouses and never looked back…. until this last trip. I decided to try something new!

Heard of AIRBNB?

Yea, it’s basically a community marketplace where property owners can list their properties for rental. So each property is different and there are many listings to suit all budget and requirements.

bnbhero_logo_orangeBut for my trip, I decided to try a similar setup but this one originated and is based in Korea. Am talking about BNBHERO.com. You can also check out their FB page HERE.

To be honest, I was a teeny weeny hesitant about this with all sorts of nightmarish thoughts running through my head. Stuff like what if it’s a lousy, dirty apartment, like how they ensure safety since there would be others who had stayed in the apartment before us and would know the passcode or dup the key, etc etc etc.

So…. although mine was a 16D15N trip, I only used BnBHero’s services for the last leg. I had stuck to a guesthouse in MyeongDong and a hotel in Busan before this BnBHero experience. How did it go? It went sooooo well that I was left wondering why I didn’t try it earlier!

The BNBHERO SITE’s quite easy to use. You can browse by country/city/area and of course, there are also other filters like number of guests, amenities, accommodation types, etc. I started browsing and really liked quite a number of them; unfortunately, not all were available for my period of stay. Hardly surprising, since we had decided on the trip kindda last minute…. as usual, hee!

RATES & PAYMENT

Well, the nightly rates are all clearly stated on the listing. What’s less clear are perhaps the cleaning fee and BnBHero’s service fee. Those, you will only see at the payment stage.

Yup, some properties charge cleaning fee. I can’t speak for all hosts and properties, but I think you can try negotiating for lower or waiver of the cleaning fee if, say, you’re staying for a longer period of time. But honestly, I think it’s OK to pay the cleaning fee. After all, you do want peace of mind that the apartment’s been cleaned, ya?

As for BnBHero’s service fee, they charge guests a 6-10% service fee for every reservation booked, depending on the total of the reservation. The higher the total, the lower the percentage for the fee.

In case you anyone’s interested, here’s the scale of service fees:
~ US 500 dollars : 10%
~ US 1,000 dollars : 9%
~ US 1,500 dollars : 8%
~ US 2,000 dollars : 7%
~ US 2,000 dollars ~ : 6%

There might be some additional fees involved in Paypal payments too. Click HERE to read the FAQs.

CHECK OUT ‘MY APARTMENT’!

The host of the property I’d stayed in during this last trip is SUE, and she has over a dozen listings under her name, so you can check it out.

I gotta say it’s a real pleasure dealing with her. Me so happy with my experience! She was responsive and very clear in our email exchange, so I was quite comfortable even before I left for Seoul.

Zzang! THIS WAS THE ROOM I’D BOOKED! These were some of the photos I’d seen on the BnBHero site:

apt 1BnBHero.com

apt 2bb ♥ | happiebb.com

apt 3BnBHero.com

Looks nice, ya?

Wondering why I’m showing you photos from the website, instead of photos I’d taken myself? Simply coz the apartment looks pretty much the same! Except that the bedsheets were different, haha! Really!

I took a rather lousy video of the room on the day we checked in though. If you promise not to laugh at my video-taking skill (or the lack of it)… here’s the ‘I-anyhow-take-so-you-anyhow-see‘ video!

The location’s a big draw. This apartment’s in Gangnam, and really near the Samseong subway station. And another big plus point is that there are escalators at the nearest subway exit! Hee, those who have been to Seoul would know how many hideous staircases there are at the subway stations!

It’s just across the road from CoEx and also the City Air Terminal, which is there’s city check-in for selected airlines, like Asiana Air, Korean Air and yes, Singapore Airlines. Even if your airline doesn’t have city check-in facility, you can still take the airport limousine (coach) from here. Super convenient!

The apartment itself is also fab. There’s actually a 24-hr convenience store within the building! Ya, like how convenient that is, right?

gangnam 6bb ♥ | happiebb.com

There are also two Korean eateries, a coffee shop and even a pub within the building itself!

Heard of KIMBAP CHEONGUK? It’s actually a local chain of 24-hr Korean eateries; you can find one in practically every suburb. Yup, yup, there’s one in Myeong Dong too (same stretch as Macs). Good when you want a simple no-frills meal.

gangnam 4bb ♥ | happiebb.com

We had a simple lunch at this Kimbap Cheonguk one of the days. Hee, cheese ramyeon! Did you know that the Koreans like to add a slice of cheese into their ramyeon? Yumz!

gangnam 5bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Here’s the other eatery within the apartment building.

gangnam 7bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Ediya coffee shop!

gangnam 9bb ♥ | happiebb.com

You can even go to the drycleaners here!

gangnam 8bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Hehe, just in case anyone thinks that this is some super local apartment that’s open to every Tom, Dick and Harry…. worry not. You will only walk past the convenience store when you go through the main entrance and right into the lift lobby. The eateries and small shops are sorta on the other side of the building.

Gangnam’s a good area, and this apartment’s in a good area too. It’s just off the main road, and yup, safe and all.

Here’s a shot of the apartment building.

gangnam 11bb ♥ | happiebb.com

And this is the lift lobby.

gangnam 10bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Back to the apartment…. it’s really like what the pics had shown! It’s very clean and well-equipped. We found the AC abit weak and therefore, the room abit hot on the first night, so we contacted Sue the next day. She sent someone over to the apartment within an hour and got it fixed rightaway. The AC was working fine, it was just some switch or something that was not turned on right. Super responsive!

And yup, yup, in case you’re wondering, towels and toiletries are provided too. There were four for the two of us when we first moved into the apartment. And Sue was worried we might not have enough, so she bought a brand new set of two bath towels and two hand towels for us. So sweet, right? We didn’t even ask! In any case, there’s also a washer in the apartment, so you can wash your clothes, towels socks, whatever. There’s also free wifi too!

Hee, it’s also super nice to be sipping coffee and reading in the late afternoon….

gangnam 2bb ♥ | happiebb.com

It’s also nice to perhaps have a beer or some wine in the evening. Yup, got view! Of course, yours truly bought beer and drink…. I mean, the convenience store downstairs was just toooooo convenient *hic!*

If you’re wondering about check-in, the host will usually arrange to meet you either at the property itself, or the nearest subway station so as to orientate you. The host will go through the apartment and show you how to operate the electrical appliances. You can also take the chance to ask whatever questions.

As for access into the property, I believe you can arrange with the host to change the access code to some secret PIN of your own.

Gotta say as far as first experience goes, this BNBHERO experience was a fabulous one! Can’t wait to try it again!

gangnam 3bb ♥ | happiebb.com

GOT PROMO WOR~

Psssst! If you’re visiting Korea soon and wanna give BNBHERO a try, you can use this promo code to enjoy 50% off the booking fee.

At the payment page, choose ‘Use Promotion Code‘, and then just key in the code SPGT1S13.

Recommended Reads
USER REVIEW OF AIRBNB
SAVE BIG WITH AIRBNB AND WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
MASHABLE ON WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN USING AIRBNB

posted by on Korea

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Do you watch K-dramas? If you do, then you must have come across scenes whereby someone is asked if the apartment or house he’s renting is on jeonse or wolse.

Even if you’ve not come across these questions in any K-dramas, you must have watched some scenes whereby someone talks about getting back the ‘key money’ from the landlord once he’s terminated his lease.

Here’s the skinny on the rental issue in Korea; and the Koreans are quite possibly the very very few ones in the world who actually practise jeonse.

Broadly speaking, there are 3 types of house rentals in Korea:
Jeonse (or what we call ‘key money‘ or ‘key money deposit‘), Wolse (pay monthy rent with payment of key money in advance) and Rent (pay total rental fees of the rental period in advance; mainly used by Korean expats).

Jeonse (Key money deposit)
The tenant has to deposit anything between 50-80% of the property’s market value with the landlord over the lease term, which is typically between one to two years. There are no monthly rental payments and this deposit will be returned in full upon termination of the lease.

Wolse 1 (Key money deposit + monthly payment)
In this case, a smaller amount of key money deposit is required, usually between 10-20% of the property’s market value, and on top of this refundable deposit, the tenant also pays monthly rent.

Wolse 2 or Rent (Advance payment of total monthly rent)
This rental system is fairly similar to what is being practised in most other parts of the world. It requires advance payment of the monthly rent at a set date every month for the entire lease term, usually two years. No key money deposit is involved, and this system is especially common amongst expatriates.

rental 1

In case you’re wondering how the Jeonse system works…

This system started to become popular in the 1970s when the Korean economy first started to boom and is, in fact, a financing tool.

To recap, Jeonse is based on a lump sum deposit a tenant pays to their landlord at the commencement of the lease. Tenants will get their money back with no interest when the lease expires, typically after two years. The imputed interest enjoyed by the landlord during the period of lease considered as rent.

During those hey-days, property prices were rising and people were confident that they would continue to rise. During those bullishly good times, mortgage interest rates were high, and the Jeonse system therefore provided an easier and less painful way for people to finance their property purchases. In a way, you could say the landlords chose to ‘borrow’ directly from tenants instead of borrowing from the banks.

Tenants, too, liked the Jeonse system, as it is a relatively cheap way of renting a home since they werey were getting their money back after two years.

However, as we all know, the good days don’t usually last forever and the Jeonse system is slowly losing favor in recent years as the housing market becomes more stagnant. As the not-quite-sustainable housing bubble bursts, landlords and tenants are increasingly turning to the wolse system or yes, to monthly rental contracts.

You can read more about the rental system in Korea HERE and HERE

rental 2

JUST A BIT ON ‘PYONG’

While I’m on the topic of housing, let’s also touch on the unit of measurement when it comes to housing in Korea. For the longest time and also in present times, the Koreans have been using their own unit of measurement, called pyong (평; 坪).

One pyong converts to about 3.3 square metres or 35 square feet.

Although real estate agents and landlords are now required to indicate property sizes using the metric system, you will still see many Koreans using pyong. You can read more about pyong on the ASK A KOREAN BLOG

RECOMMENDED READS
QUARTZ ARTICLE ON KOREA’s SYSTEM FOR RENTING APARTMENTS
AN EXPAT TEACHER’s FIRST APARTMENT HUNT IN KOREA
Market Strikes Back: Revolt of Housing Price

posted by on Food, Korea, Travel

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Since I was talking about EATING SANNAKJI AT HYEHWA, thought I’ll just share this. It’s an old blog post on pojangmacha that I’d posted on another blog previously.

If you watch K-dramas, you would probably have noticed how the Koreans seem to like hanging out at those outdoor drinking tents to have some soju. Sometimes, it’s one lone man or woman drowning her sorrows in soju, and sometimes, it’s where the couple pour their hearts out, or where besties confide in each other, or one bestie will console the other. Guess you could even say pojangmacha is like a life theatre where people play out or recount their own dramas.

I remember being extremely curious about these drinking tents, wondering about the food they would eat and those steaming bowls of soup too. Haha, I reckon I ain’t the only one curious about it, ya? So today, I shall give you the skinny on these outdoor drinking tents.

pcmc-1

Pojangmacha | The Basics

First things first, these outdoor drinking tents are called Pojang-Macha (포장마차), which translates literally into ‘covered wagons’. If you read Chinese, it translates literally to 布帐马车, which means wagons covered with tents, keke! (some people also romanize it as Pochang-Macha)

Technically speaking, pojangmacha refers to small tented eateries on wheels, or street stalls which sell a variety of popular street foods as such hotteok, kimbap, tteokbokki, sundae, odeng and others.

These pojangmacha can be divided into two main kinds: one for snacks during the daytime and the other for drinking during the night. The night version usually serves soju (though many actually serve beer and makgeolli too these days), and they also have a variety of anju.

Anju are dishes that go well with alcoholic drinks, and are what the Chinese refer to as 下酒菜. The night version of pojangmacha typically starts popping up alongside the roads from around 7pm or so, and they usually operate till around 2-4am in the morning, although there are some that are open practically all night too. And oh, the night version of pojangmacha are sometimes called soju tents too.

pcmc-2THE ORIGINS

The pojangmacha history is actually not very long in Korea, having only sprung up after Korea was liberated from Japan in 1945. In the earlier days, they were just simple roadside stalls selling mainly food on the go as they served the busy workers near where people worked or lived. they were without chairs back then, and customers would just stand there to eat. Then later, the more improvising stall-owners started adding stools for customers to sit around their wagons.

And by the 1970s, pojangmachas started to flourish as that was also the time when Korea first started to experience economic development. Back then, the very patriotic and passionate Koreans tended to put their country and companies first, putting in long, hard hours. So the pojangmacha became more than just where they would grab a quick bite.

The pojangmacha became a place for coworkers to go and wind down after a long day’s work.
In order to cater to the increased business and also because the customers started to stay longer to eat and drink, the stall-owners started to add tables too. In the colder winter months, they even put up the (mostly orange and blue, and don’t ask me why…) tentage to keep out the cold.

Pojangmacha of Today

Today (as of 2012), there are approximately 3,100 pojangmacha in Seoul. As expected, this number has been on the decline as the Seoul city progresses. City officials tend to see pojangmachas as eyesores in the development of the city, and perceive them as illegal and unsanitary, and yes, they have sought to shut them down.

However, there are also people who belong to the school that want to preserve this little part of history. The tourists, too, are fascinated by the pojangmacha culture and seem to think of it as a colourful part of Seoul. Many foreigners see pojangmachas as something really local and while it’s intimidating for those checking it out for the first time, they are excited too, as though having been allowed a glimpse of the real Seoulite’s life.

pcmc-3

There’s also a quiet ‘revolution’ going on these days. Some enterprising people have brought the pojangmacha idea indoors and there are even chains! Personally, I can’t say I’m for the idea of ‘modernisation’ of this form. Anyway, you can read more HERE

sojuDrinking Etiquette

1. One unique point about the drinking culture in Korea is that the Koreans do not refill alcohol into a cup until it’s completely empty. Yup, in Korea, you should only refill someone’s glass when there’s not even a single drop left.

2. When someone is pouring you liquor, it is polite to hold the cup. If the person serving you is older, you should hold the cup with two hands when you receive the liquor. Likewise, if you are serving alcohol to someone older than you, you should use two hands when pouring. When dining amongst friends, one hand may be used.

3. When you are drinking with those whom are older than you, it is best to turn your head away when drinking.

Tips

1. It’s cash only at pojangmachas as they do not take credit cards.

2. Try to visit the bathroom before going to the pojangmacha, since they don’t have bathrooms. However, if you really need to go, just ask the owner of the pojangmacha to direct you to the nearest public bathroom.

3. Prices vary at each pojangmacha. While the booze is relatively cheap, the food is actually not cheap, and can sometimes be at similar prices as in restaurants, costing around 8,000-12,000 won. Indicative prices: 1 bottle of soju: 2,500 to won, stir-fried chicken gizzards: 8,000 won stir-fried boneless chicken feet : 8,000 won, noodle soup: 4,000 won.

RECOMMENDED READS
MORE ON POJANGMACHA, INCLUDING ITS HISTORY
A TENT IN THE SKY
CNN’s GUIDE TO POJANGMACHA
BLOGGER POLKADOTYYANN’s POJANGMACHA OUTING

posted by on Food, Korea, Travel

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Does anyone remember PAUL, THE OCTOPUS?

Yea, am referring to the little German guy who had gained fame and glory by predicting accurately the match results for the 2010 World Cup.

paul 1bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Wow, has it been four years already? The World Cup’s now upon us again, and with so many unexpected outcome, I think the world needs another Paul.

Anyway, I ain’t here to talk about football; I wanna talk about san-nakji (산낙지)…!! Yea, the live octopus that’s a Korean delicacy! Some of my dongsaengs and I prefer to refer to san-nakji affectionately as Ah Paul ^^

Basically, san-nakji is live (san) octopus (nakji) which has been cut into small pieces and served immediately. The nakji pieces are usually still squirming on the plate. It can also be served whole. It is usually lightly seasoned with sesame and sesame oil.

One of my fave places to eat sannakji in Seoul is at Hyehwa! Just take the subway to Hyehwa station, come out from Exit 4 and viola!

There’re usually a few food tents right at the exit like these.

paul 3bb ♥ | happiebb.com

These are what the Koreans refer to as Pojang-Macha (포장마차), which translates literally into ‘covered wagons’. If you read Chinese, it translates into 布帐马车, which means wagons covered with tents, keke!

Am sure those of you who watch K-dramas would be familiar with these, ya? We’ve seen way too many scenes of the leading actors and actresses drowning their sorrow at pojang machas.

Back to Ah Paul… Our usual stall manned by a lone long-haired Korean lady was not around the night we went during my visit to Seoul last month. So we went to one manned by two ahjummas.

paul 2bb ♥ | happiebb.com

A few of the pojang machas at Hyehwa actually ‘specialize’ in sannakji, so you can’t miss them. Ordering is also easy even if you don’t speak Korean. Just point, haha!

Each sannakji costs 15,000KRW at Hyehwa; been so for years. Just for reference, I think sannakji usually goes for 20,000KRW in restaurants. Yup, they’re all alive! And they will be chopped up really really fresh and the parts will still be wriggling when served at your table.

paul emzDivaEmz

Whilst one ahjumma was preparing Ah Paul for us, the other ahjumma served us this (rather fishy) soup. Yea, service!! That means ‘free’ in Korean context, keke!

paul 4bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Coz I just had botox and filler injection done on my forehead, I had to steer clear of the oh-so-potent soju. But I could not resist ordering the beer though, hee!

paul 7bb ♥ | happiebb.com

They will serve dipping sauces like these.

Do remember to dip the sannakji in the sesame oil before you start chewing on Ah Paul! The oil’s supposed to make sure that the suction cups don’t cling to the walls of your throat or something after you swallow. Although the number is not alarming, there HAVE been cases whereby people have died from eating sannakji, so be careful!

paul 6bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Hee, we like to try placing the suction pads on our lips to experience the sensation of having the octopus’ suction cups sucking on our lips ^o^

paul 5bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Can’t really see how the tentacles are still moving, ya? Here, let me show you a video!


Maybe I’m brave. Or maybe I’m just weird. But I had no issues putting Ah Paul into my mouth even when I was eating it for the first time some years back. To be honest, the nakji itself is kindda bland and tasteless. All you can taste is really the dipping sauce.

So why eat it then? Coz of the sensation and texture! Hehe, I love it!

Some bits are really ‘alive and feisty’! Try it the next time you get a chance to!



SANNAKJI (산낙지)
Hours: 5PM – 5AM
Hyehwa Subway Station, Exit 4

One Meaty Post!

Jun
2014
23

posted by on Food, Korea, Travel

3 comments

I saw THIS on my FB wall a couple of days ago, and I’ve been craving for Korean food since!

Yea, I get one of those Korean barbecue yearnings once in a while. In fact, it’s been happening way too often for my liking! I don’t know what it is about Korean barbecue that appeals to me so much. Yea, it’s definitely about the yummy factor. But there’s something else too! Maybe it’s the sitting together to grill meat, and to eat and drink. The ambience’s typically casual, even noisy.

And I love that the tables are usually round. I think round tables are the bestest! Everyone gets to see and hear everyone at round tables which is fab! If it’s up to me, all group tables in homes and restaurants will be round! Then again, if it’s up to me, zebra crossings will be painted pink too, haha!

I know there’re like a godzillion barbecue restaurants in Seoul, and I’m sure many, many are really good too. That said, I still wanna share about this popular joint that I like – SAEMAUL SIKDANG (새마을 식당)

Saemaul Sikdang is actually quite popular amongst the locals and increasingly, they’re becoming fairly well-known amongst the foreigners. In fact, some of you might be happy to hear that they have English and Chinese menus too; so just ask. Now Saemaul Sikdang is actually a chain, but I keep going to their HONGDAE BRANCH. But from what I’ve read, I believe they’re good everywhere, so go on ahead and try the other branches, ya?

Here’s how the Hongdae one looks like.

bbq 1bb ♥ | happiebb.com

This place is super value-for-money and of course, as you probably know by now, booze is really really cheap in Korea. So there you have it, a fab place to eat, drink and make merry! What else can one ask for? Oh, maybe for it to be 24/7!

bbq 2bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Yes, it is open 24-hours, hee!

The menu’s actually quite simple, and yup, yup, prices are very affordable!

bbq 3bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Wondering what to order? Here are what I recommend!

bbq 15bb ♥ | happiebb.com

It appears that one of the star items at Saemaul Sikdang is the Yeoltan Bulgogi (spicy thin pork), or hehe, I refer to it as the ‘curly meat’. The thinly sliced pork tastes sweet and spicy at the same time and many of us absolutely love it!

Zzang! The ‘BEFORE‘ photo of the yeoltan bulgogi!

bbq 10bb ♥ | happiebb.com

And, here’s the ‘AFTER‘! Told you it’s ‘curly meat’!

bbq 11bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Our Korean friend shared with us her fave way of eating the meat. She said she always orders the cold noodles and eat the ‘curly meat’ together with the noodles.

Here, the cold noodles. Looks spicy, but it ain’t.

bbq 7bb ♥ | happiebb.com

To be honest, I was very very skeptical when she told me to eat the ‘curly meat’ with the cold noodles. I was like, “Are you sure?”

But aigooooooo…. it only took just one try to move me to being a fan!

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Who would have thought that this combination would be so beautiful???

Now, moving on to the second item that I’ve circled, the salted pork. I had gone to Saemaul Sikdang three times during this recent trip to Seoul, and we’d ordered the salted pork all three times, hehe! Guess it’s obvious I really liked it, huh?

bbq 5bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Another popular menu is the 7-minute Kimchi Jjjigae with Pork.

I love this! So flavorful! And oh, quite many locals seem to like this too, judging from what I saw during my visits there.

The server will bring you pork in kimchi stew served in one of Korea’s signature ‘golden pot’, rice and also seaweed in a cylindrical container. If you’re wondering about the name, it’s because the restaurant believes that seven minutes is the perfect time to cook the pork and kimchi in the stew so that it’s perfectly done. Word has it that they actually use a stopwatch and the alarm will go off once seven minutes is up.

This is good! And it’s even better when you’re super hungry! I always add lots of the yummylicious seasoned seaweed, so goooood!

bbq 9bb ♥ | happiebb.com

Sorry the photos are so bad… didn’t check before I dug in!

Hands up, those of you who had tried pig skin here in Singapore after watching Secret Garden! I haven’t tried that many here, actually I don’t even think there’re many Korean restaurants here that serve pig skin. Anyway, just wanna say the texture and taste of pig skin are sooooo different here in Singapore and in Korea!

If you’d tried it here and didn’t like it, I strongly recommend you give it another go when you’re in Seoul. And if you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?

I love the pig skin at Saemaul Sikdang! It’s less oily and super yummy! And lord knows if it really helps, but I’ll just believe that the collagen’s really good for my skin.

bbq 6bb ♥ | happiebb.com

You can click HERE and HERE for more photos of food in Saemaul Sikdang!

SAEMAUL SIKDANG (새마을 식당)
Hours: 24-hr
Tel: +82-2-2293-0123
367-6 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul

Gone Traveling!

Jun
2014
22

posted by on Ramblings, Travel

No comments

gone traveling

I WISH >.<

Hee, i’ve always wished I could use this sign! And then I forgot all about it when I did go traveling last month… Besides, I wasn’t (and yea, yea, am still not!) back in the full swing of blogging, so even if I had remembered to hang up the Gone Traveling sign, nobody would have seen it!

Know what? If I had a dollar for every time I said I’d be back blogging, I would probably have earned enough to buy a return ticket to Seoul by now.

Talking about traveling… is it me or is every other person hash-tagging Wanderlust on Facebook, Twitter and Insta? Everyone’s either traveling, planning to travel, or wanting to travel! Yea, me guilty of that too. Last year was not bad, travel-wise. I did a somewhat longish trip to Korea, four short trips to Bangkok, and even squeezed in two getaways to Malacca!

gals 0bb ♥ | happiebb.com

This year’s been a bit ‘dry’… Did a two-week holiday to Hong Kong and Macau in February and then a 16-day trip to Korea in May.

Just started on a new journey work-wise, so I’m not too hopeful I can take many trips for the second half of the year. I still gotta take my parents on our annual family holiday. Too many places to go and too little time!

What sort of traveler are you, anyway? Personally, I like the free-and-easy trips better.

Those who know me would know that I’m really really really not a morning person. AT ALL. And practically all tour packages have super-early itineraries; WHY WHY WHY? I also hate the changing of hotels every single night. And more so than anything else, I dislike traveling with tour groups coz all you do is spend time with people from your own country, and you go to touristy places where there’re lots of (what else?!) tourists. The only locals you actually come into contact with are the people hawking fares to tourists. I hate the feeling of being herded from place to place, without really getting a feel of the culture. And of course, I absolutely can’t stand being forced to visit those local produce shops and all.

Everyone travels for different reasons. I travel for two main reasons. One, to escape from reality, from everything and everyone, even if temporarily. And two, to learn more about another culture. And traveling with tour groups just don’t serve my purpose whatsoever. And I really hate waking up so darned early in the morning, especially when I’m on a holiday. Oh, I’d said that already? Hee!

Do you have a fave travel quote? I do I do I do!

travel 1roamaholic.com

And there are more travel quotes where this came from! Just click HERE.

Any of you out there who likes to read? Click HERE for an article that speaks to my heart! It speaks of the difference between traveling and taking a holiday. And HERE’s one on the 10 things you can learn from traveling.

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